Day 4 of Joel Pellot’s murder trial: bodycam footage shown
LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - On the fourth day of the murder trial for the man accused of killing his wife, bodycam footage was shown at 406th Judicial District Court.
Joel Pellot, a former certified registered nurse anesthetist, is accused of killing his wife Maria Eugenia Muñoz back in 2020. Pellot allegedly gave Muñoz a bottle of pills, which caused her death.
On the first day of the trial, Monday, March 20, both sides presented jurors with revealing and shocking allegations of possible motives as well as what happened days before Muñoz was found dead. At that time, not much was said about the case or even a possible motive but during opening statements, both sides made some shocking discoveries.
One of the possible motives that were brought to light was the marriage possibly coming to an end. Webb County Assistant District Attorney Marisela Jacaman accused Pellot of having an affair with a coworker, Janet Arredondo. Jacaman went on to tell jurors Pellot was going to leave Muñoz for Arredondo.
Jacaman told jurors Muñoz had confessed to her friend that she feared for her well-being after she asked her friend to pray for her because Pellot wanted to meet with her.
The Webb County Medical Examiner Dr. Corinne Stern ruled the death as undetermined saying seven different drugs were in Munoz’s system. The drugs included were Narcan, morphine, as well as many others.
Pellot’s attorney, Roberto Balli, said both he and Muñoz were drug abusers and claimed Muñoz had suicidal thoughts. Balli said Pellot injected Narcan into Muñoz with the intention to save her and added that her death was an accident.
On Tuesday, March 21, the jury heard from first responders who were present on the day of her death including the 911 call made, and the officer who arrived at the scene.
The court heard from officer Greg de la Cruz. De la Cruz was the first one who arrived at the crime scene when Pellot called 911 in September 2020. The body camera footage from officer De la Cruz that was shown to the jury was about an hour long.
After a brief lunch break, the next two witnesses took the stand.
Reynaldo Veliz is a retired paramedic from the Laredo Fire Department who got to the crime scene after officer De la Cruz. Veliz explained that Muñoz was colorless and with no heartbeat when they found her. He also noted fully dilated pupils which he attributed to brain death.
Toxicologist William Schroder explained ketamine was found in Muñoz. Schroder said ketamine can affect blood pressure and removes mental capacity. Veliz said ketamine is not carried by the fire department. The toxicology reports have shown so far that no marijuana and no alcohol were found in Muñoz’s system.
On Wednesday, March 22, Pellot’s coworker, a woman named Janet Arredondo took the stand saying she and Pellot were having an affair and that Pellot was going to leave Munoz for Arredondo. It is believed that the affair could have been a motive for Pellot to allegedly be behind the death of his wife.
Pages of Munoz’s diary were presented by attorney Roberto Balli but read by the Medical Examiner Investigator Sheila Miller. Some passages indicated that Munoz was going through an emotional rollercoaster and that her husband was not “the prince charming she once married.” It also indicated cracks in her marriage.
Pellot’s alleged lover, Arredondo, testified that Pellot asked her to delete the Ring camera video from the night that Muñoz was found dead. She told jurors the last time she and Pellot spoke was the night of September 21, 2020, which is the night after Muñoz was found dead in her home.
On Thursday, March 23, EMS bodycam footage showed Pellot administering CPR on his wife. Pellot was seen crying as it played on. It was the first time, the public has seen him emotional. The video showed first responders asking Pellot what Munoz had taken and what was administered. Pellot was heard saying he had given Munoz Narcan and flumazenil.
Tina Dores, a certified registered nurse (CRNA), took the stand and was shown the footage of Pellot performing CPR on Muñoz while she was unconscious. Dores explained the protocols of administering CPR and told the jurors that Pellot should not have stopped performing it. Dores also explained the functionality of the heart and the defibrillator to the jurors. Dores further explained the usage of anesthesia and what the purpose is for medications such as ketamine, lidocaine, demol, morphine, and propofol.
Dores was questioned on how she knew Pellot and Arredondo, Pellot’s alleged ex-lover. She told jurors she had worked with Pellot in 2016 and also knew Munoz.
After a lunch break, the state called Luis Ayala Villanueva, another certified registered nurse anesthetist, who knew Pellot for about three years. Ayala described Pellot as a “fun guy” but noticed a change in Pellot before the death of his wife. He also described Pellot as a “competent CRNA, a good pharmacologist” and knew about Munoz’s death. Ayala recalled instances where Pellot took medicine from the hospital.
It was revealed that Pellot told Ayala everything about his “adventures” with his ex-lover, Janet Arredondo. Ayala recalled how Pellot described his marital issues as “a hard situation that he was living in and worried about paying child support.” Ayala told jurors Pellot was considering getting a divorce and had asked Pellot if he killed his wife, but Pellot said he could not talk about it.
The third person to take the stand was Dr. John D. Huntsinger, an anesthesiologist from Doctors Hospital. He was brought in to explain the toxicology report conducted on Munoz.
Steven Nutt, an agent for the U.S Homeland Security Investigations Unit, took the stand next. He was brought in by the state to examine text messages sent by Pellot.
We will have more updates as they become available.
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